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Fire Badly Damages Tel Aviv Hotel

The entire west wing of the 15-story Sinai Hotel at the southern end of Tel Aviv’s seashore resort area was gutted Thursday by a major fire.

Police ruled out arson as the cause.

Tourists and some Israeli hotel guests, as well as police and firefighters, were among the more than 50 people who received treatment for smoke inhalation and minor burns. There were no fatalities.

Eighteen of the injured were treated at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Thirty- five others were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics outside the hotel.

Police said the blaze was due to negligence in the storage or use of cleaning materials and paints stored in a room on the first floor.

Two employees who handle storage materials were detained for questioning.

Tourism Minister Uzi Baram, together with the Israel Hotel Association, have established a commission of inquiry to examine why the blaze spread so quickly through the hotel’s west wing. The east wing was not damaged.

The commission will also review hotel safety precautions nationwide.

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